A judge in Macon, Ga., has awarded retired U.S. Postal Service employee Jack “Sonny” Henderson a $350,000 judgment for damages he suffered as the result of an attack by two pit bulls while he was out jogging two years ago.
Bibb County State Judge William P. Adams stated on Monday that his decision was based upon the severity of the injuries to Henderson, now 65, and the cost of medical treatment and lingering effects.
After nearly 25 months, Henderson still has pain in his arm and hand. He no longer takes long jogs, but trots around near their Baconsfield, Ga., home, said his wife, Bernadette, who had to change his bandages for two months, according to Macon.com.
"Sonny" Henderson recalls that he was lying in the street bleeding from the vicious attack by the two dogs that had escaped from a nearby yard.
“The dogs severed his artery in his arm, and he was bleeding heavily at the scene," said Jeffrey Powers, Henderson's attorney. "They were just mauling him. His life was undoubtedly saved by two women who were driving by and saw the weakening man still trying to struggle against the dogs."
Tymeka Bryant and Christy Martino jumped out of their car and Martino grabbed the Louisville Slugger metal baseball bat she kept for protection and ran over the hit the dogs and get them off of Henderson. She then wrapped a piece of cloth around his arm as a tourniquet to stop the flow of blood, reports 13WMAZ News.
Macon Police arrived shortly afterwards and the dogs charged an officer. The police officer fired a fatal shot into the head of the female, named Jaida.
The male pit bull, Chevy, was quarantined at the animal shelter for 10 days and then returned to his owner, Allan Thomas, who paid only a $100 fine.
When Thomas was contacted by 13WMAZ News after the court hearing, he said he did not know anything about the judge’s ruling.
Attorney Powers said Thomas had been properly served with the lawsuit, and Judge Adams confirmed that his office sent the notice of this week’s proceedings.
After the attack in July 2011, Alan Thomas explained that he had just moved to the address on Clinton Road where the dogs escaped from their pen. He said the attack was out of character for the two dogs.
However, Powers provided evidence that Thomas was cited when the dogs were loose about a week before his client was hurt.
“Sonny” Henderson had at least $35,000 in medical bills, Powers said, but collecting the money will be difficult because Thomas did not own the house and was not required to have insurance. The property owner in California was not liable but offered a $5,000 settlement, he said.
The attorney said he has not ruled out garnisheeing Thomas’ wages, according to the report.
Henderson was attacked about a half-mile from Northeast High School, Powers reminded reporters.
“If a child had walked by that house, they would be killed instantly,” he said.
He also said pet owners must be held accountable.
“If you have an animal like that, you have to protect the people walking and jogging by,” he said.